Rod Pampling figured he would need plenty of birdies to have a chance at catching Chris DiMarco. Turns out all he needed was a bunch of pars.
DiMarco had eight bogeys and only three birdies in the third round yesterday to drop into a tie for the lead with Pampling at the International, setting up what could be a wild finish in Castle Rock, Colo.
"I was plus-7 and I didn't think that would be good enough, but obviously Chris didn't play as well he could have," Pampling said. "He let us back in."
DiMarco appeared to be headed toward a runaway victory with 31 points and a nine-point lead in the modified Stableford scoring system event, but ended up losing two points in the third round with his stroke-play 77.
DiMarco's collapse allowed 17 players to move within 10 points in a format known for huge swings of momentum -- from eight points for a double eagle to minus-3 for double bogey or worse. Alex Cejka was two points back after a six-birdie round, and Tom Pernice and Bob Tway were tied for fourth with 26.
"I guess I made it a good tournament, eh?" DiMarco said.
Half the field returned to the Castle Pines course early yesterday to finish the second round after three rain delays the first two days, and they were all chasing DiMarco -- who opened with 14- and 17-point rounds.
DiMarco got off to a good start, opening with a birdie on the par-5 first hole to match Pampling. Then things started to go wrong.
He pushed his tee shot into a cluster of trees on the third hole, leading to a bogey, and lost two more points after pulling iron shots on Nos. 4 and 5.
"I'd like to have the whole day over, to tell you the truth," DiMarco said. "The positive is that I am still tied for the lead. I could have put some ground between me and the other guys, but couldn't do it."
* LPGA TOUR: Karen Stupples shot a 3-under-par 68 to build a three-stroke lead over Marilyn Lovander through three rounds of the Jamie Farr Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
Stupples is trying for victories in consecutive weeks while attempting to stop Se Ri Pak's bid for a record-tying fifth win at the Farr.
"I was very patient and took every shot as it came," Stupples said. "I'm just going to try to play my own game. Obviously, I have a bit of a lead so I'll play the way I want to play."
Pak is trying to become only the second player to win the same LPGA event five times, matching Mickey Wright, who won the Sea Island Open in 1957-58, 1960-61 and 1963. Pak is tied for fifth, five shots back heading into the final round.
"It will not be easy," Pak said after a third-round 72 while playing in the same pairing with Stupples. "Especially because she has so much confidence in her game."
Stupples, coming off a victory at last week's Women's British Open, was consistent throughout. She collected pars without much effort and made three timely birdies to move to 8-under 205.
Lovander, 49, is attempting to become the oldest player to win an LPGA Tour event.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Tom Purtzer shot a 4-under 68 to take a two-stroke lead over Tom Kite into the final round of the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn.
Purtzer and Kite (69) were tied through 16 holes, but Kite's bogey and Purtzer's birdie on the par-3 17th gave Purtzer a two-stroke lead.
Both birdied the 18th, leaving Purtzer at 12-under 132. First-round co-leader Craig Stadler was third at 9 under after a 71, and Sammy Rachels (71) was another stroke back.
* WOMEN'S HP OPEN: Carin Koch and Becky Morgan shared the lead after three rounds, with Annika Sorenstam two shots behind in Stockholm.
Koch, a Swedish LPGA Tour regular who played on Europe's winning Solheim Cup team last year, shot a 68 to match the day's second-lowest round. She was at 7-under 209 with Morgan (69).
Sorenstam had her best score so far on Ullna's tough lakeside course with a 3-under 69.